Happy Blogging 5th Anniversary!

Today is the 5th Anniversary of my little blog!

Wow!

Can you believe it?  I’ve been lovingly pouring my heart into this little corner of cyberspace for 5 years.  Sometimes sporadically and sometimes consistently, but always with an eye on sharing a little bit of myself and the beauty in God’s world around us.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride and will continue to come along.  I’m excited to say that I have subscribers in countries as far away as Spain, Korea and the UK and as close as just a few blocks away. Thank you all for joining me in this adventure called life.

I have lots of things in store for you in the coming year.  We’ll travel to distant lands and have adventures close to home as well.  We’ll be creative in decorating our homes, cooking in our kitchens, sewing with our machines, celebrating the holidays and oh SO much more…and I hope to launch a new travel-related blog and website, but I can’t share what that will be about yet.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re heading out on vacation in the next few days and I haven’t had time to set up anything extra special for the anniversary celebration, but I hope to do something fun in a few weeks when we return.  Who knows, maybe I’ll find a treasure in Scotland or Ireland that I can use for a giveaway!  How would you like that?

For the moment, I’ll say so long.  I hope to do at least a few posts while we’re on the road, but we’ll see how much time, energy and internet access allows.    Please know that I’ll be thinking of you often and of what tidbits I can share when the opportunity arises.

What would you like for me to find out about Scotland or Ireland?  Is there something you’d like to see or learn about?

Let me know and I’ll do my best to uncover the mystery for you.

See you soon!

Exploring La Jolla, California (Part 2)

If you missed part 1 of this post about the Harbor Seals, you can find it here.

LaJolla Bride

After doing a little bit of wading in the water, we walked along the sidewalk that hugs the coastline and passed two different wedding parties enjoying a gorgeous setting to tie the knot.  This bride was on her way from her photo shoot to her reception.  I saw our daughter, Amy gazing longingly at the wedding festivities.  I know she would love to shoot a wedding here (so give her a call if you need a photographer for here or anywhere)!

We ended up resting under these wonderful curvy, gnarled trees.  I have no idea what they’re called, but they were so unique.

Next we headed toward LaJolla Cove (just a few steps away).  We passed this lovely plein air painting on the way to the beach.  I’d love to try painting again someday, but I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to try it with so many onlookers.  You couldn’t find a more perfect setting though.

This is La Jolla Cove which is actually designated as an Underwater Park Ecological Reserve where fishing is prohibited and all the marine life is protected.  You’ll enjoy snorkeling, scuba diving, swimming and kayaking here!

I’m told that there are times during the year where you can see both Seals and Sea Lions at Casa Beach, but that didn’t seem to be the case this week. Today we get to meet the California Sea Lions that are at La Jolla Cove.  It’s within easy walking distance of the seals.

I think it’s so awesome that these gorgeous creatures are in such close proximity to each other and so accessible for the public to view.  What a great way to teach your little ones about the magnificence of God’s creation and to guide them in how to explore, appreciate, honor and respect their natural world. This is the ultimate example of nature at your doorstep, even in busy southern California.  As you can see, these kayakers have an amazing view of the sea lions and a much different vantage point than those of us on land.La Jolla Kayaks and Sea Lions

LaJolla CA Sea Lions By the way, do you know the difference between the seal and sea lions that we see in La Jolla?  Sea Lions have small external ear flaps.  Another big difference between true seals and sea lions is that sea lions have larger front flippers which they use effectively on land. Sea lions can also rotate their hind flippers toward the ground so they’re able to walk on all four appendages, unlike seals that basically “scooch” on their bellies. They make use of their fore flippers when propelling themselves through water too.  Sea Lions are generally the creatures that you’ll see performing in shows, since they’re highly intelligent and relatively easy to train.  If you’d like to get into even more detail about the differences, visit “How Stuff Works” here.

And last, but not least this temperate climate does wonders for flowers!  Here’s just a taste of the colors you may see here.

Here’s a link to a detailed map of the LaJolla area.  At this posting it was last updated in 2010, so it’s hard to tell how accurate the business listings are, but for general navigation, it should be helpful.

So what’s your favorite part of La Jolla so far?

Next post will be about the Open Aire Market there.  Stay tuned – you’re gonna wish there was a scratch and sniff blog option.

Here are a few of my favorite pics of our family from the weekend.  Don’t you just love Amy’s earrings!

Terry in La Jolla

Andrew La Jolla

Exploring La Jolla California (Part 1)

For our first day in LaJolla, after inching through the traffic between the hotel and the coast, we finally found a place to park about a block from the beach.

LaJolla CA Seal Beach

First stop would be the Casa Beach to see the Harbor Seals.  Here’s what the view looks like from street level (click to enlarge).  Now remember this is right in town and less than a 5 minute walk from where we parked.  Looks kinda like a normal beach, protected from the waves by the wall and walkway.  What you may not notice is that there are Harbor Seals in the water and on the beach, just below the wall, past where all the people are.  At certain times of the year, the whole beach is covered with seals, and this is also where they have their pups in the spring.

This harbor seal colony numbers approximately 200 seals.  To learn more about this beach, the seals and the La Jolla Friends of the Seals that help out there, click here.  It’s really quite interesting.  There’s also some controversy between those that think the beach should be roped off to protect the seals year round and those that think humans should have access to the beach in the summer for swimming.  If you’re interested in more info on that, visit “The Controversy” here.Pacific Harbor Seals La Jolla

We walked down on the beach and I pulled out my 300mm zoom lens so I could get some close-up shots of the seals without disturbing them physically.  They’re so cute and lovable, but can seem to be aggressive when humans encroach on their space.  While we were standing there, an adult seal moved away from the rest of the seals and toward some folks that were getting too close.  She seemed to be chasing them away from the pups and other adult seals.  Once everyone backed up, she went back to the group.   I’m not sure what would have happened if the humans hadn’t moved, but suffice it to say that it’s important that we respect their habitat and honor their right to be there too.  In the photo above you can see how close people were to the seals.

Multi-colored SealsHere’s a group shot that shows the interesting range of color and pattern in their fur coats.  They go from silver to black with all manor of combinations in between.

La Jolla Seals and TrashLook at the seal heading into the water in this one!  And the brownish one lying on his back.  He looks like your favorite dog begging to have his belly scratched.  The sad thing about this photo is the water bottle tossed in the group of seals.  Seriously, who in the world would do that?  Sad enough that someone would throw it on the ground at all, but the fact that this could have been thrown directly at a seal is disgusting.  Please teach your children that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.  (getting off my soap box now…)

Amy & Andrew LaJollaSo after we left Casa Beach, we walked down a little way.  Andrew and I did some wading at another stretch of beach while Terry and Amy looked on.

And while we were there, I used my “motherly expertise” to rescue a little boy who had encountered a serious issue.  Check out this photo that Amy took.  This little guy was maybe 8 years old and had been playing on the rocks at the beach.  Somehow he managed to rip his trousers across the top of the back pocket and ALL THE WAY down his pant leg from top to bottom, so his underwear and rear end was showing.  Fortunately he HAD underwear ON, but it was still pretty embarrassing, I’m sure.  So Amy had a big safety pin and I managed to get the loose flap pinned to the top of his pocket enough so that everything wasn’t hanging out.  It’s something only a mom would be allowed to do respectfully.  I’m not sure where his mother was, but I would have hoped that someone would do the same for Kevin if he’d been wandering around like that when he was young.  The little boy seemed to be appreciative, but still couldn’t find the shirt that he lost as well.  Good thing he was having fun in the water, otherwise it could have been a ruined day for him.

Amy & Terry

Andrew in LaJolla

Isn’t it amazing how, even as adults we’re fascinated by the interplay between waves and sand.  I could sit and watch the ocean for hours.  It’s so relaxing and refreshing…

You can see more photos that Amy posted from our adventures here too.

So, we’re about half way through the day at this point.  The next post will be the rest of the afternoon.

What do you think about the ocean?  Is it scary or intriguing to you?  Having grown up right next to Lake Erie, large bodies of water don’t frighten me.  I am a bit intimidated by the more dangerous creatures in the ocean though…like sharks and jelly fish and the like.  And I’m not really fond of the salt water coating that’s left in your hair and on your skin after swimming in the ocean.

Let me know what you think about the ocean. Have you ever been to La Jolla?  What’s your favorite thing to do there?

Eating in La Jolla, California

Because we know it’s all about the food, I thought I’d share about a couple of places that we ate when we were in La Jolla.

The Spot – La Jolla

Saturday night was an unofficial birthday dinner for me (and for Andrew too) since both of our birthdays were in the week before we were there.  We tried to make a reservation for a place overlooking the coast, but the earliest they had was 8pm, and we had eaten early in the day, so we tried to find someplace available earlier.  We ended up at The Spot.

It wasn’t overlooking the coast, but we were able to snag a table right next to a couple of windows that opened out onto the sidewalk with the fresh ocean breeze wafting through.  This is the booth where we sat.  Can’t you just feel the breeze?

It also helped because the restaurant is a little dark, so the outside access helped it feel more open.

Here’s what we ate:

Andrew’s Garbage Burger: 1/2 lb beef patty with lettuce, tomato, pickle fries, sauteed mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and onion rings

Garbage Burger

My steak and shrimp scampi.  The scampi was a little over-cooked but still had good flavor.   The steak was tender and delicious!

Steak and Scampi

Terry’s Shrimp with Penne Pasta looked very tasty: imported penne pasta tossed with grilled chicken in our pesto cream sauce

Pasta with Shrimp

I don’t have a photo, but at the table next to us the guys had a Deep Pan Pizza that looked amazing!  We were staring enough as it was, so I didn’t want to totally intrude by taking a picture.

This is the view looking outside from the table.

Overall it was a wonderful meal in a great location with some of my favorite dinner companions.

For those who’ve seen this post already, I apologize for the duplication.  I realized that I didn’t include the “window” shots and I wanted to add them.

I think I’m going to share about the next place in a separate post because there’s more than just the meal to talk about.

Next Post: Seals, Sea Lions and more in LaJolla

Then: LaJolla’s Open Aire Market!

Better Blog Content 2.0

O.k., so its clear that you’re probably not getting much inspiration from me lately, but I do have a recommendation for you to check out someone who is a prolific blogger.  And this week, she’s running an online Blogging Workshop on “Lemon and Raspberry” called Better Blog Content 2.0.  You can find all the details here.

Full disclosure: she happens to be my daughter, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have great stuff to share and to help you in the blogging world.  In fact this might just inspire me to start posting again.  See, this post is proof that it’s working already. 🙂  I love this picture of her from some recent “outtakes” at her  home photo shoot.  Note the raspberry lemonade in the photo for her “Lemon and Raspberry” blog.  Clever huh?

But, it’s getting more and more difficult for me to choose what to blog about.  We just added a few more events to the list.  Last week I helped my dear friend, Linda on a photo shoot with her daughter-in-law and granddaughters, which was a blast!  I’ll post more on that.

Then I went with my husband and the Ryans to Tucson to hear my husband and Bob perform at the Tucson Folk Festival.  I promise, soon I’ll post about that trip, as well as an awesome Mexican restaurant that we visited there.  It’s a place that you won’t want to miss if you’re in the Tucson area and are hungry for Mexican food.  Stay tuned for all that and more to come.

Thanks for hanging in there with me during this busy time of life.

A Few Things About Me – 30 Days of Lists

So here’s list # 1 on the 30 days of lists that was supposed to start on March 1st.  I admit that I’m a little bit behind, but I’m hoping to catch up this weekend.  In honor of the #30, there are 30 items on this first list.

  1. When I think of things about me I immediately think of the other people who are an integral part of my life…family, friends, pets, etc.
  2. I’m a wife of 33 years to my wonderful husband, Terry.
  3. I’m so thankful that God brought him into my life.  He’s pretty amazing for putting up with me all these years.
  4. I’m a mother of a daughter (Amy), a son (Kevin) and a son-in-law (Andrew).
  5. I’m so proud of all three of them.  I could brag on them all day long.
  6. I wish I could see them more often.
  7. I love going to Disneyland and California Adventure. (That’s where the photo was taken.)
  8. I have a 20 year old cat named Shredder.  (she’s not in the family photo since she didn’t come to California Adventure with us.)
  9. Just about me…  I love to take photos – I consider myself a tourist of life.
  10. I cry very easily, mostly about happy things…not sure why – just the way God made me, I guess.
  11. I love God and the am constantly amazed by how much he loves me, in spite of what I do that must break his heart.
  12. I wish I had more of a green thumb so I could bring more of God’s creation into my home and yard.
  13. I enjoy interior decorating.
  14. I never have enough time to do all the fun and creative things that I’d like to do.
  15. I love unique architecture.
  16. I love to travel.
  17. I have an idea for a travel related blog, now I just need to find the time to work on it.
  18. I live in Phoenix, AZ.
  19. I miss having all four seasons.
  20. I lived in a very small town in northern Ohio until I was almost 16.
  21. I lived in Southern California for 18 years.
  22. I’m learning to love the beauty of the desert.
  23. I work 4 days a week helping several non-profit organizations.
  24. I tear interesting pages out my magazines when I find something that I want to refer back to again. (recipes, decorating ideas, gardening tips, restaurants, web sites, etc.)
  25. I was in the gifted program in high school (that was a blast) and graduated a semester early.  woohoo!
  26. I’m a chocolate snob.
  27. My favorite is Lindt Intense Orange Dark Chocolate bars.  Just buy me a case of it and I’d be happy as a clam.
  28. My absolute favorite food is Alaskan King Crab.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!  That (and maybe a good steak) would be part of my last meal, if I had to choose one.
  29. I love watching live musical theater and live musicians.
  30. I love hearing foreign accents and finding out where they’re from.

Hey!  Check this out.  A fellow blogger at R.S.V.P Responding to Life that connected with me through Amy’s blog, just put up a post with some responses to my list above.  Isn’t that just so sweet of her?  She’s a dear woman from Pennsylvania.  I love the internet!  Our world is growing smaller every day.

Snow Storm – A Happy Ending

So…in case you were wondering, we did make it out of the mountains on Monday last week.  But not before we enjoyed dozens of quiet hours together by a warm crackling fire, watched all 10 episodes of the mini-series “The Pacific”, and had a chance to take some shots of the beautiful aftermath of the storm.  (Don’t forget to click to enlarge the pictures.)

I loved these icicles, especially against the blue sky!

Every once in a while I need to set up the tri-pod so that we can have proof that I was actually on our trips.

This is what it looked like after the snow plow came through to clear the long driveway.  Our car is buried under the snow there on the right.  We still had a little more digging out to do.

This was just crazy!  When we walked to the end of the driveway we found this SUV parked in the middle of the road right where we needed to drive to get out.  As we walked around trying to figure out why it might have been left there we noticed that the doors were unlocked and the keys were still in it.  AND we saw clear evidence that someone (presumably the driver) had taken a pee in the snow by the side of the road.  So….what would you guess was the scenario there?  We have no idea.  Fortunately, when it was time for us to leave the car was gone and we’re hoping that it was driven away by the owner.

This was a view from under a covered patio where the snow and ice from the roof was in the process of sliding off.  The ice was really thick, so it’s not a place that you would want to be when it finally landed.

I just love the contrast of the blue sky to the snow covered trees in this one.

I had some roses left from Valentine’s Day and Terry suggested that I take a few pictures of them in the snow.  This is one of my favorites.

Thanks for sharing the adventure with us.  We had an amazing time!

How do you feel about snow?  Do you love it?  Do you hate it?  Have you ever been snowed in?